Finmeccanica’s Alenia Aermacchi division is launching a competition to find a nickname for its M346. The division’s CEO, Carmelo Cosentino, said the first low-rate initial production (LRIP) example flew on July 7, and that the aircraft is 700 kg lighter than the prototypes, giving it “much better maneuverability.” Aermacchi hopes to attract 35 to 40 percent of a market for around 2,000 advanced jet trainers over the next 25 years.
Boeing and Alenia Aeronautica have signed a letter of intent to build a composite recycling facility in southern Italy. Along with partners Milled Carbon of the UK, Italian-based Karborek and the Italian agency for new technologies, energy and the environment (ENEA), the two companies intend to “advance industry knowledge.” New applications could include automotive, civil engineering and sporting goods, among others.
Student pilots from the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) have begun basic flight training on the Pilatus PC-21 advanced turboprop. Twelve aircraft have now been airfreighted to the RSAF’s Flying Training School at Pearce airbase in Australia and re-assembled. The remaining seven are due for delivery next month. They are replacing Alenia Aermacchi S-211 jet trainers that are now nearly 25 years old.
Although neither the UAE nor Singapore has yet chosen their new jet trainer, both have now eliminated the BAE Systems Hawk from consideration. They continue to evaluate the more modern Alenia Aermacchi M-346 and KAI/Lockheed Martin T-50 Golden Eagle. These setbacks have caused BAE to refocus the Hawk sales campaign on upgrades and through-life support.
Alenia Aeronautica has extended its C-27J “exclusive propulsion system provider” business with Rolls-Royce from 42 AE2100D2 engine/Dowty propeller assemblies under a 2006 contract to a “total guaranteed volume” of 155. The U.S. Armed Forces may extend its requirement from the current 78 aircraft to a potential 145 machines. The C-27J has been ordered by Romania and is in service in Bulgaria, Greece, Italy and Lithuania.
HCL Technologies, a $4.9 billion company that in three decades has grown from a garage-based start-up (Hindustan Computing) into India’s fifth largest IT company, has been selected by EADS as a tier One partner to support the activities
Alenia Aermacchi’s first pre-production M-346 lead-in fighter trainer made its official maiden flight on July 7 with Aermacchi chief test pilot Olinto Cecconello at the controls. The jet, painted in “Finmeccanica red” in a nod to Alenia Aermacchi’s parent company, had made three previous flights, all occurring the week before the first official public flight pictured here.
Electromagnetic (EM) compatibility testing, which has become increasingly important with the advent of new technologies such as fly-by-wire controls, the saturation of airspace with high-frequency EM emissions and the decision by some airlines to allow mobile phone calls aboard their aircraft has prompted Alenia Aeronautica to build Europe’s largest anechoic chamber.
At the Finmeccanica exhibit here at Farnborough (Outside OE2) visitors once again can find Alenia Aermacchi’s M-346 lead-in fighter trainer. At a first glance the aircraft looks the same as that exhibited at previous airshows, but close up it is possible to note some of the differences featured in this first preproduction aircraft, which was rolled out from the Italian group’s assembly line in April.
Sukhoi (Hall 1 Stand E9) has come to the Farnborough show elated at having begun flight trials for its Superjet 100 airliner. This summer the Russian manufacturer expects to receive its first injection of new capital from Alenia Aeronautica in payment for the 25-percent stake it is buying in Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Co. (SCAC).